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New to the site, first thread. I've been poking around the "new to reloading" and "should I reload" threads and I'm looking for some current info. I've always been interested in reloading, but found that factory ammo for my rifles was perfectly adequate. I don't shoot my rifles a great deal (maybe 100 rnds/yr in a couple rifles, 40 rnds/yr in a couple others, 20 rnds/yr in a couple more) and I feed my 40's and 9's cheap. I just bought a SBH in .44 mag, though, and it's a hoot. I can see myself shooting that a considerable amount.

Question is this: with current prices (and I know some components are difficult-to-impossible to find), what is a reasonable price-per-round for plinking .44's? I'm gonna have to buy bullets, not going to start casting right now. The day I picked up the Ruger, I paid $40 for a box of 240-grin Blazer JHP's. I'm trying to figure out how many rounds I'll have to roll before I break even on start-up costs.

As long as I've got you here, a second question: if I buy a press, it only makes sense to build rifle rounds as well. I'd probably want to reload 7mm mag, .300 savage, .308, and .243 to start. I've got a pretty good stock of factory in those calibers, and had the foresight to save brass the last few years (I knew this bug would bite me eventually). Any rough cost estimates for a single stage press and basic starting equipment? Thanks in advance. Reading other posts for the last six months has shown me what a wealth of info that can be tapped in to here.
 
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Reload Cost

Hi, Steve here. I have been reloading for about 30 years now. Mostly 44 Mag, and a whole long list of caliber too. I started reloading to save money, then the fun started, to find a load to save me money ,to be able to shoot more. In the long run i spent more on shooting and shot a lot. You have to keep your 44 factory ammo prices in the back of your mind, and the price of the components to compare to see how much you will save,you have to find the bullets and powder that works best in your guns. Keep good records. you will also find a relaxation in the reloading process. The equipment cost may take a little while to recover. The componet manufacterers are all good to work with. Buy and keep current as many reloading manuals as posible. I like to work with copper coated or plated bullets for plinking , and have jacketed bullets for more serius shooting or hunting. Bulky powders are safer to work with at first . Good luck.
 

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Mr. French, we get these questions all the time. Opinions are varied and usually everyone pretty much agrees that reloading does save you money in the long run.

The initial monetary outlay for components and equipment can be expensive, but the benefits of hand-loaded ammunition will soon start to out-weigh that cost.

I recently answered a "Why should I Re-load?" question with these pictures:







Up until this point my .243 in 700VLS had never seen a single factory round and there was no way I could know how it would react to factory ammunition, but from past experience I knew it wouldn't be as accurate as my re-loads. I do quite a bit of varmint shooting and range sessions on good days can quickly exceed 500 rounds (total) from three different .223's, a 222 and the .243. If I didn't reload I'd not be able to shoot a fourth as much as I do.

Soon some one will come along with an itemized cost per round showing you the benefits of just the cost savings of reloading. I showed you the accuracy potential of tailor made ammunition.

I reload 14 different cartridges for twenty odd different firearms, two of those being 44 magnums with neither of them have EVER seen a factory round. The same can be said for my 300RUM, my three .223's (all bolt guns), .222, .357, .358 Win, 7mm Rem mag, .308 or 35 Whelen.

RJ
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. It looks like I could get started for under 400 bucks - just the .44 mag. That sound close?
 

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These folks gave good advice

The initial outlay for equipment, components and reloading manuals is the greatest cost hurdle. Some gun shops sell used reloading equipment at bargain prices. I got a mint used RCBS Rockchucker press for $40 and am still using it. Get a Lyman, Hornady, Sierra or Speer reloading manual and read it to get a sense of what you need and the whole process. Lyman is my personal favorite. All the best...
Gil
 

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I reload for 20 calibers and cast for 18. I agree with what has been typed above. Those targets do speak loudly. For me, it allows me to shoot every day, to test and learn. Sometimes I think the summum bonum may be in the testing for me. . . ? :) I shoot in my backyard.

Reloading is not a complex activity, nor is casting or swaging. Take your time and try to make it as enjoyable as the shooting. I use a single stage for rifle rounds and a hand indexed turret for revolver/pistol rounds. Just remember to read and think about what you read and all will go well. I never had a mentor though my dad did reload way back. I think, in retrospect, there is a lot to be said for a mentor.

I can tell you only this, in answer, no way I could shoot this much without casting and reloading. Does it save money considering the more shooting? Probably but that is not comparing likes.
 

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You've been given a lot of good answers so far. However, to your question on cost..... a "ballpark" cost for loading 44mag with cast bullets would be around $15.00 for fifty rounds. That's using purchased cast bullets and buying new brass and getting ten loads out of it. Again, this is just ballpark. It's pretty obvious that there is a savings to be had reloading, not counting the fun factor of using your own reloads.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Looks like the Lee Classic 4-hole Turret press would be a good place to start?
 

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Looks like the Lee Classic 4-hole Turret press would be a good place to start?
There's a couple of ways of looking at that question. I think there are better presses out there that don't cost an arm and a leg. There are some that do. If you think you're going to be shooting different guns for a lot of years to come, get a little better press up front. If cost is a big factor at this point and that's where you are financially, the Lee will serve your purposes for a good while. You'll probably get something else later on. My personal favorite turret press is the Redding. It's probably around eighty or ninety bucks more but it's a real workhorse. The difference isn't just that it has more holes (seven vs four). The ram is better aligned and will stay that way and the turret head is also aligned and "truer". It's all about the tolerances in the parts that count for making better ammo and longevity. You just kind of get what you pay for. However, the Lee will get the job done for a good while.
 

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IMO only, I kinda think if ya gotta ask, you can't afford it. I didn't start reloading 30 years ago for economy, but out of curiosity. Reloading has become my second hobby that coincides with shooting (at times I don't know if I reload so I can shoot, or shoot so I can reload). I don't know what factory ammo costs as I bought a box of 45 ACP about 18 months ago, but anything else I haven't purchased any in at least 12 years. Reloading is a great hobby in itself and aids my shooting greatly. I'd prolly reload even if factory ammo was cheaper...

You should be able to get started for around $200.00-$250.00 with a single stage press, dies, scale, and a couple other misc. tools, and a couple reloading manuals.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Appreciate all the insight. Like I said up front, reloading has always interested me. If I can build better ammo than factory, then I'm not necessarily concerned if the cost is on par with factory. The main reason I posed the cost-per-round question was so I could justify the expense to myself. Looks like I'm gonna take a trip down the reloading road....
 

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It's hard to tell whether one ends up saving money in the long run. It's a fun hobby and, while I started out reloading to shoot, I now shoot to reload.
 

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I got a mint used RCBS Rockchucker press for $40 and am still using it.
That was a super bargain. My early 70's RCBS Jr has seen continuous use since I bought it, and is good as the day it came home. It will out live me, I have no doubt.

RCBS and LEE, as well as others make a bargain press that will do a reasonable job, dies are not all equal, but they all work reasonably well. I use Lee dies as backup dies for my RCBS collection. They also work well. You need a scale, and a measure is not essential , but handy. You can get by with home made dippers.

Components are tough these days, but if you have options, you grab what you can find.
 

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Compare to your $40 per 50 cartridges example.

Brass 10 loads = $2.00 per 50
Standard Primers = $2.00 per 50
Cast Bullets = $6.50 per 50
Plinking Powder = $1.50 per 50
Total for 50 plinking/target loads = $12

For quality hunting or defense loads you can triple the cost of bullets and powder, so around $28 for 50 of those. So if you shoot 9 boxes of practice loads for every 1 box of heavy loads, then every 500 rounds of reloads fired you save $264 over factory. You can easily pay for all the equipment in a year or less if you do much shooting, and then the savings are money in pocket.
 

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44 Mag reload cost?

rfrench247:

Having just gone through this same exercise, I will try to give you some specifics, based on component prices in today's inflated market place, because of the perceived fears of hoarders and resulting difficulty in finding the stuff you need. Supply and demand works.
I have assumed you will have to buy cases, if not subtract this component cost. I have not included amortization of the reloading dies and press, shellholders, auto-primer, etc. I will say that the Lee kit will serve you well and you can always upgrade if and when you decide you need to.

Target loads with 240 gr RN SWC bullets, 7 grains of Unique, CCI LRP primers:
$2.00- cases-assumes $40 for 100 cases, amortized over 10 reloadings
$2.25-CCI primers at $4.50 per box of 100-primers are high now
$1.50-powder, assuming 7.0 gr per rd. A 1-lb can is $30 and has 7000 grains, 1,000 rds/lb
$10.00-bullets at $20/box of 100
$15.75- total cost for box of 50

For full power jacketed bullet hunting loads expect costs to double or triple for powder, because you will use 16 to 24 grains per round, and bullets will be double the price for semi wad cutters. So $28/box of 50 or so. Clearly for target loads significant savings can be achieved by casting your own bullets, as others have mentioned. Good luck. As others have said the satisfaction and de-stressing associated with the hobby probably outweigh the savings.
 

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If you're gonna shoot 44Mag a lot (or any boomer, .357, .45LC, .454Cas) like I do, you MUST reload, unless your name is Gates or Buffet or Trump. Also, factory ammo is always loaded down, or just up to SAMMI. I like hot loads - gotta make them myself, and they are safe in Rugers.

I have been using LEE reloading equipment for 25 years - completely satisfied.
 

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While I don't post on here much, (I do like to read the topics in the email I get), I do reload a lot for "plinking". I load a LOT of cast and don't cast my own. I like Missouri bullet. The 44 stuff is like 40 to 50 bucks for a box of 500 and their quality is great. I see a banner up at the top of this page saying Largest selection of hand cast bullets :D sorry if there is some place on here to buy em I'm really behind the times. I work a lot of hours and have to get back to shooting more. Cast is much cheaper if you're just going to punch paper. Reloading is also a hobby in it's own.
 

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44 mag reload costs, and need advice for Hornady FTX bullets

Looks like Black Mamba and I arrived at nearly the same costs for target and hunting loads, i.e $12 to $16 for target loads and $28 for hunting loads.

Segue: I purchased some Hornady Flex tip 44 cal bullets when I couldn't find anything else recently. These bullets are rather long. Reloading instructions in Hornady manual inform you that 44 Mag cases must be trimmed back app 0.1 inch compared to normal 44 mag case length spec. My question is--- Could I use 44 special brass for these bullets, loaded to lower power using 44 special data, of course? Like maybe 6 to 7 grains of Unique? I know velocities will be low for hunting, but OK for target shooting.
 
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